I Just Flew To And From Texas, And Boy Are My Arms Tired !

For the first time in 10 months – and first time during the COVID-19 pandemic – I flew the friendly skies between South Florida and North Texas on September 24TH and October 01ST (both Thursdays).

Aside from the “new normal” of constantly wearing a face mask while inside the airports and on the airplanes everything else was close to the way it’s always been. Security was the same. You still had to remove everything from your pockets and take your shoes off. You still had to remove laptops and tablets and liquids from your carry-on bags.

I tried something new for all of my flights. I checked-in via my airline’s iOS app up to 24 hours in advance, and I even paid for my baggage on the app. I used an electronic boarding pass. Once I got to the airports I simply walked-up to a kiosk, scanned my boarding pass, printed my baggage tag, slipped it on my baggage, and turned it in at the counter. It all worked flawlessly. One of the advantages of doing all of that electronically is that the app gives you a current location status of your checked-in baggage. I didn’t have to worry whether or not my baggage was on the same airplane as I was on. I knew it was. I’ll be going electronic on all future flights.

My flight from #MIA to #DFW early in the morning (boarding began a little before 5 AM) was jam-packed at or near 100% capacity. Social distancing only applied up until the point that you entered the aircraft. After that you were pretty much piled on top of each other. I actually took a short follow-on flight from #DFW to #SPS (Wichita Falls), and that flight was perhaps 30% full. #SocialDistancing

A week later on the return trip back to #MIA (out of #DFW) my mid-morning to mid-afternoon flight was once again at or near 100% capacity, and it was a Boeing 777 ! I was actually blessed with extra legroom on this flight, as I was directly behind the main cabin restrooms. Seats were 10 across, and I was in 1 of the 4 middle seats.

Air traffic is down about 70% from last year, and one of the advantages of that are most flights are departing their gates, taking-off, landing, and arriving at their gates early – before their scheduled times. That was the case for all 3 of my flights. At both #MIA and #DFW it was quite eerie to see so few people walking around inside the terminals. At #MIA there were parking spaces available starting at ground level in their main parking garage. I had never seen that before. I pulled-in to a parking space less than a minute after entering.

Want something to eat and drink while inflight ? You’ll get an individually-sealed plastic bag with a small package of cookies and a small bottled water inside. No coffee. No soda. No snack boxes for $5. Those days are over.

Finally it just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t bring back this gem from the classic days of this blog. This is the way flying used to be en route to Miami, and then once you got here – it was #GoGo time !

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My First Car

1980 Chevy Citation

My first car was a 1980 Chevy Citation. I bought it used with my own money as a 16½-year-old in early-1984 as a Junior in High School. It was a beige 2-door hatchback. It looked very much like the car that is 2ND from the bottom in the ad above.

I was a “paper boy” back then. Once I bought the car my delivering of the newspapers around my neighborhood early in the morning became so much easier. It got a major upgrade. I went from a 10-speed bicycle that often got flat tires to an actual car !

I also drove my car to school sometimes, but not all the time. I’d get made fun of for my “cheap used car”. I lived in a rich neighborhood at the time, and my high school was one of the top in the nation as far as income of the parents of the students, so naturally the students were rich too. My parents were not rich, so I wasn’t either.

On June 12TH 1985 I shipped-off to Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas. 2 months later I was at Tech School at Chanute AFB in Rantoul Illinois. Right around Labor Day Weekend my Dad and my little brother drove my car 700 miles from McLean Virginia to Chanute AFB. They essentially delivered my car to me. I showed them the base and the local area, they spent the night at a local hotel, and then they flew back home the next day.

Here’s a photo of that day. My 10-year-old brother took this picture:

Chris Soldier Dad_0002

Unlike high school I suddenly became popular in my dorm when people saw me with car keys and an actual car. Everyone wanted to be friends with me. People wanted to be advised whenever I planned to drive off-base to visit places in Rantoul or Champaign.

In October 1985 I received notification that after I graduate from tech school my first permanent duty station would be – overseas in the United Kingdom. I was enjoying the final month of my car. After graduation I drove my car back home to McLean Virginia, and then about a week later I shipped-off to England. My dad sold my car.

May is National Military Appreciation Month. I’ll present military-themed stories every Thursday this month.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries